MegaHouse: Sora Kasugano

Happy Birthday, Sora!

After being delayed for about a month, MegaHouse’s Sora Kasugano is released and I received her just in time for her birthday!

Sora Kasugano

As previously mentioned, I was on the fence about getting this figure. For one, I had no idea who this character was and didn’t know the background on her. Two, prototype images may be different from the end product. I was really attracted to the sculpt of this figure and amount of detail done on the body. When I saw the review up on FooBarBaz.jp, I knew this figure wouldn’t be a let down.

Sora, as of this writing, is my newest figure – I have a lot of other figure reviews lined up but once I saw the back of the box, I just had to get her reivew posted today. What was so important? Well, as you might’ve guessed already, it’s her birthday! That’s right, February 5th – today!

like a porcelin doll

Since her release, I’ve seen a few reviews pop up around the Net. And like many of the reviewers, I have little to no information on her background. I did to a little research when I pre-ordered her, and looks like she’s from an eroge called Yosuga no Sora. That gave me pause for a bit – what the heck was an eroge? I had to look that up, yes, seriously. Well, for those of you that have been hiding in a cave (like myself), eroge, is a combination of two words: erochikku mu. In short, it’s an erotic game. Oooooh, now it makes sense … I’m so outdated in terms of anime and these type of games, not that I had ever played one before. My only recollection of an H-game (and later a hentai anime) was Dragon Knight, which a friend told me about way back in the day. But I guess H is no longer cool, it’s all about the ero now. LOL

Anyway, Sora would be my second eroge character, with Tamaki Kousaga from To Heart 2 being the first. But unlike Tamaki, I can actually display Sora without my wife or friends asking (too many) questions. There was another Sora that was released awhile back by Taki, the figure looked okay to me in the pictures, but it seemed to have taken quite a number of criticisms. I believe the main complaint was the lack of quality and that it didn’t capture the essence of Sora’s character. When MegaHouse displayed their version of Sora at Wonder Festival last year, it became an instant hit. There were many positive comments on blogs and forums that the sculpt and paint job of the prototype matched the original illustrations very well. Also captured is the feeling of Sora’s ailment and the look of a porcelin doll.

what’s up, doc?

This Sora doesn’t have any cast-off clothing like the previous take by Taki, but it does come with a cast-off towel and a bunny doll. I think that is just fine as Sora’s body doesn’t have much to show off anyway (aside from the detailed sculpt work). ;-) When I saw the prototype photo, the skin tone and shading seemed heavy-handed, I kind of liked it as I’m somewhat into things that have contrast. But having such dark tones around certain areas of your body doesn’t look very natural. With Sora in-hand, I can say that the shading is toned down compared to the prototype, although some may say it’s still a bit on the heavy-handed side. Under normal lighting condition, I think it’s not that bad.

i may look frail…

One thing interesting about Sora is her facial expression. It changes depending on the angle you look at it. Looking at the figure from the front, her head is slightly turned to the left, so from this angle she looks frail. But turn her a bit to the right and look at her face straight on, she looks like she’s about to kick your ass! With her hands up, she amost looks to be in a boxing position.

… but i move like a butterfly and sting like a bee!

There’s some nice shading going on with the hair, it’s done well. But what’s interesting is the paint work isn’t smooth like the rest of her body (or most other figures), it’s somewhat grainy. You won’t notice that from far away, but up close you can see the grain effect.

sora’s hair

Not much to comment on about the chest area, it’s a flat like a runway. ;-) But what I do like is the sculpt on the body, it feels quite realistic (albeit a bit more toned than the line art). Under certain lighting conditions, the figure can actually look real in a picture (see other images below or in the gallery), so kudos to the sculptor! Speaking of the sculptor, I’m not 100% sure who it was, from other reviews, I think Sora was sculpted by Houjun Otoyama. Sora’s body actually reminds me of Black Rock Shooter.

flat like a runway…

…but great body sculpt

One improvement that I see is the seam line between her body (waist) and her bikini. In the prototype photo, there was an obvious gap with dark paint lines between the two parts. It made Sora look as if she was dissected in half in a horrible operation. But none of that here with the final production!

no gap between the body and bikini

The shading around the knees isn’t done as well though, it makes the area look dirty. This was especially so in the prototype, but on my Sora the effect is somewhat alliviated but not eliminated. One thing that I do find odd though (at least on my Sora, can’t say the same for others), the skin tone is different between the body and the legs. This is especially obvious under lighting conditions using those new energy efficient bulbs (and do I ever hate these bulbs). When taking some photos, I played around with the lighting filter, using a purple makes the tonal difference almost day and night. Unfortunately the camera wasn’t able to pick up this difference as well as the human eye (so I deleted the photo). The upper body seems to have more orange tone than the legs, which are more on the yellow side. I don’t know if this was done on purpose or did I just get a Sora with a bad paint job? Under normal lighting (day light, tungsten, etc.), however, you won’t see this difference as obviously.

legs

nail polish details

Sora’s feet have pink nail polish on her toes, this is one thing I like about MegaHouse paint work, they usually pay careful attention to little parts like these. The paint isn’t just a blob, but actually painted on the nail portion of the toes. Most often on figures, the painter just dabs a blob of paint which covers portions of the finger too. I guess that’s a side effect of mass production, but I’m glad there are companies out there like MegaHouse that still care about quality.

There’s not much going on from the sides, as most of the figure is covered by the hair and the towel. The rear is more interesting as the towel hangs low, exposing her back. You can’t see her butt, but you do get a glimpse of the details of her coccyx (tailbone). From her exposed back, you can see the detailed sculpt work of her scapula (shoulder blades). Like her abs, her back looks pretty realistic in photos under certain angles and lighting conditions. I don’t think I’ve seen any other figures (so far) that has this much detail on the body – but then again I haven’t seen very many other figures (yet)! LOL

profile shot

back view

The tailbone area is drawing some critism from what I see on some forums, and yes, I do agree that it seems a bit over-the-top. But there’s no denying how great it looks when it comes to some low-key photography. If you haven’t already noticed, I’m a huge fan of low-key photos, most of my more professional photos are done in low-key.

back, closer up

low-key photos shows off the sculpt work

The rear of her knees also received some of the attention to detail, which is often missed on other figures. What I also found interesting was the towel that came with Sora. It’s not a smooth piece, which was what it looked like in the prototype. But there’s actual texture on the towel, you can see it much clearly in photos when using a macro lens. The towel can be removed, exposing the entire body of the figure. You can see the roundess of her butt (finally), it’s not going to win any awards, but at least it’s not flat like most other anime figures (or like her chest). =P The sculpt of the bikini bottom is done so it looks like it’s actually pressing into the skin, which appears to be pretty much the standard now when it comes to anime figures.

legs detail

textured towel – nice!

rear, without towel

Sora comes with a little bunny “stuffed animal” figure – I’m guessing it’s her stuffed animal toy from the game. The bunny is actually darker than I’d expected, it’s more like a dark chocolate color rather than the lighter brown I thought I saw in the prototype photos. It really reminds me of Mr. Bean’s teddy bear – maybe it’s the button eyes. I think I may have found the main reason why I got this Sora figure – for the rabbit toy. LOL

rabbit

bear

After all’s been said and done, am I glad I kept my pre-order of MegaHouse’s Sora Kasugano? Yes, I am. It’s not an emphatic yes, but it’s a yes. Could I have gone on living with out this figure in my collection? Yep! What sealed the deal for me was the attention to detail in the sculpt and the paint work – oh, and of course the bunny too! Without these things, there’s not much else that stands out with this figure. If you’re a Sora fan, then yes, you should definitely pick this one up as it is very well done. But for someone like me who had know prior knowledge of her existance, you can probably go on with your merry way and not feel bad.

some mold mark on left arm

Although I’ve been saying how well MegaHouse’s paint work is (most of the time), I’m a little bit disappointed with the quality in care of the paint work with this figure (my figure, namely). While it looks fine with the naked eye, when I went through the photos on my computer, the macro lens picked up many dark paint specks in various places on the body and the hair. Maybe they were in a rush to get these figures out the door after the delayed release date? But this is not the typical QA I’ve come to expect from MegaHouse figures. There were also some faint scratches / abrasion marks on the body, as well as an uncleaned mold mark on the right side of her waist. Luckily, most of the imprefections aren’t noticeable with the naked eye, but still!

I’m not a big fan of figures with anorexic thin bodies, and to be honest, I’m not sure why Sora has such a huge following, her body doesn’t exactly scream eroge (or H – hehe) either. Perhaps something to do with her personality and style? I don’t think I’ll ever be playing this game, but the buzz surrounding this figure does have me interested in learning some more about her story. If you have details, feel free to leave a comment below! I think I’ve covered off most of what this figure entails though, so I’ll let the photos finish off the rest. As usual, more can be seen in the gallery.

Oh, and I almost forgot – Happy Birthday (again), Sora!

Update Comment: Wanted to mention that Sora was somewhat difficult to photograph due to her pose, which casts shadows on the body. I’m too broke now to afford more soft boxes so I had to play with the lighting and make-shift soft boxes.

Update Reviews: Tier has put up a review at his site recently. As well, other reviews are also available at HappySoda, FooBarBaz, Excelica Meteor. Check them out!

Sora Kasugano